About Howard Linett
Howard Linett is an attorney, an independent journalist, a lecturer, sniper instructor in the Israeli Police Civil Guard and the author of "Living With Terrorism: Survival Lessons from the Streets of Jerusalem."

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Howard Linett
Commemorating an American Hero: The Marc Lee Foundation
May 23, 2009

"These are the times that try men's souls." So began Thomas Paine's first essay published on December 23, 1776 in The Crisis, a collection of articles he wrote during the American Revolutionary War. How aptly those eight immortal words describe today.


Many believe that America's core founding values have never been so challenged and tested, if not rejected and discarded by our elected officials. Protocol unlearned, simply waiting to eat until one's soldiers are eating, is not observed. Respect, placing one's hand on one's heart as the National Anthem is played, is unnatural, even shunned by some. The usual feeling of partisan political distain for the party temporarily in power has been replaced with genuine fear for the Republic.


In such times of crisis the sustenance that supports our national soul comes from the selfless acts of our soldiers and citizenry. Their examples are like candles that light our way in the dark. They make us cry. They cause us to mourn. They raise our spirit. They imbue us with hope.


Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Marc Allen Lee is one of those true heroes. His example of courage provides us with such inspiration and solace. He was the first U.S. Navy SEAL killed in combat in Iraq. His home was Hood River, Oregon.


On August 2, 2006, he was one of the four members of SEAL Team THREE's Charlie Platoon engaged in combat on a rooftop in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq. One of the team's members was seriously wounded. Twice, Marc Lee stood erect, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire as he delivered suppressing fire with his machine gun, allowing his remaining teammates to extract their wounded brother. At that point most of us would have called it a day. But then most of us are not U.S. Navy SEALs.


"The element completed the casualty extraction, regrouped and returned onto the battlefield to continue the fight. Petty Officer Lee and his SEAL element maneuvered to assault an unidentified enemy position. He, his teammates, Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks engaged enemy positions with suppressive fire from an adjacent building to the north."


"To protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of fire saved the lives of many of his teammates."


So reads Navy SEAL Marc Lee's Silver Star Award Citation. He was also awarded a Bronze Star with Combat "V" for Valor, and a Purple Heart, posthumously.


Marc Lee's brother Kristofer wanted to give something to Marcís teammates that would help them remember Marcís courage under fire, and something they could carry with them into battle. Kristofer envisioned a presentation knife made in his brother's memory with a percentage of the profits from the sale of the knife going to a military wounded or fallen support charity. The entire Lee family got behind the project. It was then that Kristofer contacted an individual with a reputation in military and law enforcement circles for getting things done, retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Steven Bronson. Chief Bronson put heart and soul into the project.


He enlisted noted knife designer Eddie Killian to design the knife. Eddie was given only one directive; Honor a Fallen SEAL! Eddie contributed his time, expertise and all the costs involved in designing the prototype. For him it truly was a matter of honoring a Navy SEAL who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Chief Bronson on behalf of the Lee family next contacted Les De Asis and Greg Mooney about producing the Killian designed knife. Les is the founder and owner of the Benchmade Knife Company. Greg is Benchmadeís president. Les was honored that his company had been asked to join the Lee's project. He thought it especially appropriate that a local Oregon company produce the knife memorializing and honoring an Oregon SEAL. Benchmade got behind the Lee family project 110 percent, as have many of Benchmade's dealers. As does Benchmade, they also contribute to the Foundation a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the MARC LEE "GLORY" KNIFE. Why "GLORY?"


In one of his last letters home Marc wrote,


"Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them."


What better a name for a knife commemorating sacrifice and selflessness.


Deservedly, the project initiated to support a military wounded or fallen support charity blossomed into the Marc Lee Foundation. A true family foundation, the Officers and Directors are Debbie Lee, Marc's mother, Kristofer Lee, Kristofer's wife Naomi, Maya, Marc's widow, Marc's sister Cheryl Wells and Chief Steven Bronson. The foundation has been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. It is hoped that the foundation's website will be up and running by Memorial Day.


The purpose of the Marc Lee Foundation is to commemorate the actions, courage and dedication to our great Nation of Marc Lee and of the U.S. Navy SEALs and in so doing ensure none of them are forgotten. To that worthy goal the Marc Lee Foundation will join the Naval Special Warfare Foundation Endowment Society and financially support the NSWF's work.


Please support the Marc Lee Foundation.


"The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." Ė Thomas Paine, 1776.

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